Here we are again, at the precipice of another GenCon along with it’s flood of new games. We have taken the time to comb through the list to present you with the ones each of us are most excited for. These are the games you should be looking out for while you are there or when they hit retailers. You have been put on notice.

SHUCK

Custom Heroes – John D. Clair – AEG

I love me some trick taking games. I really love it when they’re unique and add something new to the table (Diamonds). Custom Heroes takes the Mystic Vale concept of using clear cards to modify what’s being played with. Clear cards fascinate me and while I was unimpressed with Mystic Vale, the idea of changing card values or even giving special abilities to cards intrigues me. I’ve been looking forward to this one since I heard about it.

Witches of the Revolution – Craig Stockwell – Atlas Games

Witches and Pentagrams are way out of my theme wheelhouse but Witches of the Revolution has some really interesting mechanisms. At its core, this is a cooperative deck building game but it looks to be a really hard one. Lots of interesting choices to be made, where tuning your deck may be optimal for getting rid of events and completing objectives but also hurt at the same time. I’m really intrigued by this one.

VIRAL – Gil d’Orey, Antonio Sousa Lara – Arcane Wonders

This the newest in the Dice Tower Essentials line. Basically you control a virus infecting a body. Your goal is to control different organs while attacking other virus to be the nastiest virus in the body. I love the playful artwork in this one while also being effective for gameplay. Looking forward to trying this out.

GARY

The Ruhr – Thomas Spitzer – Capstone

An updated version of the second game in Thomas Spitzer’s Coal Trilogy, Ruhrschifffahrt 1769-1890 (the others being Haspelknecht and Kohle & Kolonie) The Ruhr is yet another euro game being imported to the U.S. by Capstone Games. In The Ruhr, players will move coal down the Ruhr river, sell it at the various cities as well as build warehouse and export their product to surrounding countries. I’m excited to try this one out as it looks to be a solid worker placement, pick up and deliver style of game. This edition also includes the standalone expansion The Ohio: 1811-1861, which features similar gameplay to the base game but promises some changes and additional elements.

The Climbers – Holger Lanz

Another Capstone reprint, The Climbers is the first game in their Simply Complex line, which promises shorter play times and less complex rules than the usual fare published by the company. Players in The Climbers are attempting to move their meeple up a stack of different sized wooden blocks. Ladders can be used to climb larger blocks, and your meeple can only be placed onto blocks of the same color or a neutral gray. The winner is decided when one player climbs high enough that none of his opponents can climb any higher for a whole round. I expect this one to be a fun filler with nice components that I hope to check out.

Flamme Rouge – Asger Harding Granerud – Stronghold

This one got an nomination for Golden Geek board game of the year 2016, but I’m including it here as Stronghold Game is publishing it for U.S. audiences for the first time this August. Players take the role of a team of bicycle riders and move them through a modular track using a deck of cards to plot their movement. This one looks light enough to play with the family but also have enough strategy to take to the game group as well. The theme is unique, which is what caught my eye initially. Stronghold has pretty great track record so I’m hopeful this one will end up being great.

BRIAN

Codenames Duet – Vlaada Chvátil, Scot Eaton – CGE

I am a big fan of Codenames. It is such a great bridge between thinky strategy games and wacky party games. It is one I can get out with anyone and not worry if it will fit the group. Naturally, I have wanted to just get this game out with my wife but it doesn’t work very well with 2. And now Codenames Duet comes along and makes this possible. I am very excited to get this word game to the table.

First Martians – Ignacy Trzewiczek – Portal Games

I have played and really enjoyed Robinson Crusoe. Such a fun and challenging cooperative game about surviving on an island. But when I went to purchase it a while back I found that it was out of print. Then the new edition released and I was about to pull the trigger on it….until I found out about First Martians. The theme of trying to survive as an explorer on Mars spoke volumes to me. Couple that with an app, multiple scenarios, and an optional legacy campaign and you are pushing lots of my buttons. I am super excited to explore Mars while trying not to die.

Pandemic Legacy Season 2 – Rob Daviau, Matt Leacock – Asmodee

I have a love-hate relationship with Legacy games. I love them for the stories they tell, the world they create for a group of players and the possibilities that come in all the sealed compartments. I hate that I can’t seem to finish one. The stage of life I am in right now just doesn’t allow me to get together with the same group often enough to see one to completion.

For some reason, that still doesn’t curb my excitement for the next season of Pandemic Legacy. I love the post-apocalyptic direction of the story and the twist on the standard Pandemic mechanisms this game will bring. And I am holding out hope that I will eventually get to finish Season 1. Someday.